From a marketing standpoint, prepping for the winter holidays starts months before sweater weather. But if you break up all the planning step by step, starting now, you’ll be ready for Black Friday success.
We’ve collected all the planning tips you need in our new 2016 Marketing Holiday Calendar, but here are a few select tips from the calendar’s section on September.
In September, take advantage of the calm before the storm. Build stronger relationships with customers across marketing channels and ensure top-notch email deliverability. Here are five ways to use the month of September to prep for holiday marketing.
1) Get emails ready to render on phones, tablets, and wearables. More than 50% of all emails are now opened on mobile devices — and consumers will delete or unsubscribe if your emails don’t work on mobile.
Start meeting with designers to ensure every email is fully mobile, encouraging better engagement. Remember all those Apple Watch devices given last year as gifts? Ensure emails have a plain-text version that can be read on wearables, too.
2) Ask your customers to opt-in on mobile. Mobile messages can be the perfect tool to bridge the physical and digital worlds. Use geofencing and location-based messages to drive engagement with your customers.
If your brand has a mobile app, ask customers to opt in now to location-based tracking and push messaging so you can send hypertargeted offers when they’re in your area during the holidays.
3) Prep your social service plan. Finalize your social-service game plan for those busy November and December days — and nights. True, social media drove only 1.8% of all holiday e-commerce orders in 2015. But answering or avoiding a question on social can make or break a sale.
Not answering customers on social channels can lead to a 15% increase in the churn rate for existing customers, and more than half of consumers expect a response on social media within an hour. Develop a plan for who will cover all those questions, leaving no channel ignored.
4) See how social ads can boost other wins. As a marketer, your head is no doubt spinning with all the campaign types you could offer this holiday season. What will your biggest holiday launches or offers be?
Advertising should play a key role in attracting more eyes to those messages. Also consider how advertising can give a boost to email, and vice versa, by targeting email subscribers on Facebook with the same message, and by using ads to drive customers to your email subscription.
5) Add some sophistication to your web and data strategy. Show customers you know them well by using web data in targeted emails, ads, and mobile messages. Every holiday season, the stakes for personalization are higher.
Currently, 61% of Millennials would share data regarding their preferences with a store or brand to receive better service, and 38% say it would help if a store knew about their online research prior to arriving at the store (Salesforce). Engage efforts to coordinate digital and in-store teams, so online data is integrated with the offline experience.
Bonus tip. Going to Dreamforce? Check out my and Joel Book’s Marketing Holiday Calendar session on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. We’ll share real examples of brilliant holiday emails and give you a monthly to-do list so your holiday emails can be your best-performing yet.
That’s just the beginning of the planning and preparation that should go into your holiday marketing. Download the free 2016 Marketing Holiday Calendar today for even more tactical advice on giving yourself the gift of more ROI this season.
Marketers: Do These 5 Things in September to Prepare for the Holidays